Forecaster says budget cuts could hurt hurricane predictions

Specialists monitor Hurricane Hermine in September 2016 (File: CBS)

MIAMI, Fla. (AP) — The retiring chief of the hurricane specialist unit at the National Hurricane Center in Miami says further cuts to tropical weather research will undermine recent improvements in hurricane intensity forecasts.

James Franklin has overseen the hurricane specialists who release tropical storm forecasts and warnings since 2009. He says he’s worried that the U.S. government’s Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program will lose more funding under President Donald Trump.

The program had a $13 million budget when it began in 2009, but its funding is now less than half that. Trump’s proposed budget includes cuts to the National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Before joining the hurricane center, Franklin was on NOAA research teams that made breakthroughs in tropical storm forecasting and in the understanding of the winds circling a hurricane’s eye.

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